A maritime attack from al-Qaida or other affiliate terrorist groups is increasingly likely, according to Gulf of Aden Group Transits.
“The resurgence of al-Qaida and affiliate organizations is occurring alongside some of the world’s most strategically vulnerable and crowded waterways,” said Gerry Northwood, chief operations officer of GoAGT, in a written statement. “The largely unforeseen consequence of the Arab Spring is that it has given terrorists groups a new lease of life and the means to do real harm to maritime activity in the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and at other key strategic choke points.”
Northwood said that the rise in sea traffic has made the maritime industry a “target rich environment.” He noted that the cruise liner industry is at risk too, in addition to the obvious targets such as oil platforms and large cargo ships.
“A terrorist attack targeting any of these key assets could have a high impact both physically and mentally in a traditionally terrorism free environment, but would be seen by al-Qaida as a headline attack that would promote their cause,” Northwood explained.
He added, “An attack of this nature could lead to significant influence on global energy security and international trade. For al-Qaida, a maritime attack could be highly attractive; we have already seen the effect that piracy has had on the global economy and the shipping community.”